The historic Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet played host once again to the annual Sunday Ride Classic from the 6th to the 7th of May, which sees passionate fans from all over the world travel to the south of France to celebrate the history of motorcycle racing.
The Yamaha Racing Heritage Club (YRHC) was out in force at its first event of four in 2023, as it celebrated 50 years since the launch of the game-changing liquid-cooled TZ production racer. Yamaha released the two-cylinder TZ250 and TZ350 in 1973, based on their factory race bikes from the previous season, and made them available for riders to purchase.
This allowed anyone to buy a stock machine, turn up at a GP or race and be able to compete with the factory teams, which revolutionised the world of racing at the time. Then, in 1974, Yamaha brought out the TZ750, that went on to become the most dominant motorcycle of the era, recording nine consecutive Daytona 200 wins.
Fittingly, two riders whose names were synonymous with the TZ were also present to meet and greet the fans and light up the event by taking to the track on their iconic machines. 1977 Formula 750 World Champion, and all-round racing legend, Steve Baker was reunited with the TZ750 he rode to the title that season for the first time on track in four years. The 70-year-old quickly clicked with his old machine, describing riding it as “the best feeling ever!” The American was joined on track by ex-rival and good friend Christian Sarron on the TZ750 he rode to second in the championship that year.